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article imageBig drop in global cheetah numbers

By Tim Sandle     Jun 3, 2017 in Environment
There are only 7,100 cheetahs remaining in the wild. This had led to conservationists to renew calls for the big cats to be declared endangered.
Cheetah numbers are in steady decline; in 1975 there were 14,000 wild cheetahs, today the number hovers just over 7,000. New data suggests the numbers may fall by 53 percent over the next 15 years. This comes from Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization. Speaking with National Geographic, the head of the organization, Luke Hunter sets out what this means: "That’s a very active decline, and you have to really step in and act to address that."
Cheetah at Whipsnade Zoo
Cheetah at Whipsnade Zoo
Martin Pettitt
READ MORE: Cheetahs facing extinction risk
Cheetahs are found mainly in eastern and southern Africa, together with a locations within Iran. The cheetah is the fastest land animal in the world; the big cats has a slender, long-legged body. Cheetahs are tan in color with black spots all over their bodies. Cheetah are active mainly during the day, with hunting its major activity.
Threats to cheetahs come from:
Habitat loss driven by conversion of wilderness areas into managed land;
Poaching;
Locals killing cheetahs out of fear of agriculture damage or attacks to livestock.
A National Geographic film crew captures a sprinting Cheetah on film.
A National Geographic film crew captures a sprinting Cheetah on film.
Screen Capture
A new survey of cheetah numbers has been published in the journal PNAS, under the heading "The global decline of cheetah Acinonyx jubatus and what it means for conservation."
With the survey of recent cheetah numbers there are some hot-spots of particular concern: numbers in Zimbabwe have plunged by more than 85 percent in 16 years; and fewer than 50 individuals are thought to survive in Iran. The researchers behind the new study are calling for an uplisting of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List threat assessment to endangered. This would ensure more cheetahs being placed within protected areas.
More about Cheetahs, Big cats, Conservation, Extinction, mass extinction
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